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What if this moment were your last, my friends, would you be content, satisfied that you've lived a full life? Have you made the best use of your days? I've spent the last two days thinking about this.
Two days ago, I had a terrible scare. I thought I was about to die. This is what happened.
I've been spending an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen lately. I use the term inordinate because I am not really inclined to be much of a chef- usually. Of late though, I've been flexing my muscles and exploring a lot of meals I wouldn't have traditionally cooked because, a, I don't have a taste for them myself, or because, b, I am allergic.
Lately I have been feeling though that my distaste for a particular dish shouldn't rob our boys of the chance to experience it, and so, I've been spreading my wings and living on the wild side a bit. Like literally on the wild side.
Two days ago, I decided to make egg casserole and crispy fried shrimp tortillas. And before you go off on the combination, I concede, it's an odd blend, but this was not the issue. The issue is that I'm allergic to shellfish. And on Monday night, for a moment, I felt like I was about to draw my last breath.
The egg casserole was great. I used eggs, some milk, grated cheese, chopped vegetables: carrots, tomatoes, pimentos, celery, onion, etc. blended them in together, folded them in, added a touch of salt, sprinkled some extra cheese on top, and put them in the oven to bake in mini muffin cups.
Then came the shrimp. And I should have known.
When I was younger, like a child, I ate shrimp when my mom or my grand mom prepared it, and I was fine, but as a young adult, I developed an allergy.
The first time, I realized that I was allergic to shrimp, I was 19 years old at a restaurant with friends, eating steamed wontons. The wontons tasted great, but my tongue and inside my cheeks started to itch like crazy.
I tried wontons another time and had the same reaction.
The next time I visited another restaurant and asked for chicken wontons and asked the chef to ensure that the wontons weren't fried in the same oil as the shrimp had been. They said they wouldn't, but then guess what? My mouth was on fire. I never ate there again.
And so, I knew, and I stayed away from shellfish on the whole. As a result, my sons never really ate it, at least not at home. A few days ago though, I got some shelled, deveined shrimp and decided it would be worth a try. I wouldn't eat it. I'd be sure to clean everything afterwards carefully. I felt I'd be fine if I was only preparing it. Ha!
After serving everyone, I was literally gasping for breath. And because I couldn't think it was the shrimp, I hadn't eaten anything, I felt like I was suffering from a heart attack. It was terrible. Nothing we tried worked. My sons were scared, my husband was ready to rush me to the hospital.
In the end, we decided to go to the clinic. When we got outside though and away from the shrimp, I was breathing better. A lot better. The air was clearer. And we knew. My husband took me for a drive for a bit, and my breathing was still shallow, my heart had really been taken for a run there, but I was a lot better.
And so my husband and boys took over the kitchen, dumped everything (sadly), cleared the counters and sinks with bleach, turned all the fans on, opened all the windows and doors to just let natural air flow through, and after some time had passed, I was able to go back inside.
That night, my sleep was not comfortable. My chest still hurt. My breathing was still shallow. But I was a lot better.
And it made me think, friends, the next morning. What if that moment were my last? I'd have known love, peace, strong friendships. I'd have lived a blessed life, I know that. I'd have learned some pretty harsh lessons, for sure, but I'd have lived through a lot of them, and I'm grateful for that.
But still, if those moments were my last, I wouldn't have done everything that I've wanted to. And without thinking selfishly about my personal bucket list, I'm saying that I wouldn't have made the impact I wanted to make, shared the messages I wanted to share, or reached the people that I wanted to reach in the manner that I wanted to reach them by the messages that I've crafted. That was a sobering moment for me.
See, we're all blessed with gifts and talents, right? And at the end of our time here, we must account for the way those talents were used. Were they used selfishly and purely for personal gain and entertainment, or were they used to make the people we interact with, the spaces we move through, the communities we live in, the world we share a better space?
Maybe I'm headed down the rabbit hole again, overthinking everything, but I'd say this. Since none of us can really predict the next month, next week, next day, next moment, I think it's at least useful to live consciously in each moment, trying our best not to waste time and opportunities we can never reclaim, being good to ourselves and others. Adding value and helping to build, rather than just existing or consuming time, energy and space.
Anyways, that's what I got from a bowl of fried shrimp that I was allergic to. Tell me though, can you relate? If this moment were your last, would you be satisfied that you've done everything that you could have or that you wanted to? Or are there still some things that you've wanted to do, that you haven't yet done that can maybe help to make life better, maybe easier for someone else? If the answer to the latter question is yes, my friends, then what are you waiting for?
Lead Image sourced from Pixabay, all other images are mine.